In response to a June 8th New York Times article that focused on the problems Americans had using their credit cards aboard; several companies have added new E.M.V. cards into the mix. ( E.M.V. stands for Europay, MasterCard and VISA) JP Morgan Chase and U.S. Bank are now offering customers the opportunity to obtain these cards so that they will not encounter any obstacles in shopping when traveling abroad.
The primary problem is that the technologies we have in the U.S. and those in European countries do not match. Believe it or not, the U.S. magnetic strip technology on credit cards is in the “dinosaur age” compared to the rest of Europe. European credit cards and credit card readers have an embedded chip rather than the magnetic strip that U.S. cards have, which can cause American credit cards to get denied altogether when traveling abroad.
Abroad travelers have turned to their own measures for dealing with the potential problems. Now, however, American credit card companies are finally responding to the issues. The response is that many credit card issuers, companies and banks are adding the chips that are compatible with foreign travel, which are known as E.M.V. chips. Chase made its announcement on June 17th that the chip technology would become available on its J. P. Morgan Select Visa Signature card. This may be considered a privilege to these card holders since it also carries a $95 annual fee. Prior to adding the E.M.V. chip to the J.P. Morgan Select Visa card, the bank did offer the option to its group of high networth banking customers.
The other bank that is offering the new technology as a perk to its foreign bank travelers is U.S. Bank. Through its FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa, 20,000 U.S. Bank customers had cards with the E.M.V. chip embedded. U.S. Bank says it intends to roll out the new technology in additional travel cards at some point by the end of 2011.